Town wants superstore, claims Derby College
DERBY College claims it has definite proof that people in a Derbyshire town want a new superstore, despite council planning officials recommending it is refused.
The college needs to sell the former South East Derbyshire College site, in Field Road, to Morrisons in order to fund a new £10 million campus in Ilkeston town centre.
The institution said an exhibition in the town centre resulted in 444 completed questionnaires – 90% of which supported plans for the superstore to be developed, together with 39 affordable homes.
Hundreds of Ilkeston residents attended the exhibition to view the proposal and speak to representatives of the college and developers St James Securities, based in Leeds.
Nigel Gell, college corporate director, said visitors to the exhibition particular welcomed the possibility of having more local choice for their weekly shop and not having to travel as far as Derby or Eastwood.
Mr Gell said: "We were blown away by the popularity of a new Morrisons food store in Ilkeston as so many locals told us they travel further afield for their weekly food shopping.
"Undoubtedly, there is scope for a new supermarket in the town. But this proposal is about more than a food store.
"Securing Morrisons provides the vital funding we need to build the new college at Pimlico."
Without the money from the Field Road site, the further education plans could be in jeopardy.
Erewash Borough Council planners have recommended refusal because they claim the superstore would have a "significant adverse effect on the vitality and viability of Ilkeston town centre".
They also claim it would affect proposals to improve the town through redevelopment of the Albion shopping centre and bringing vacant shops back into use.
Paul Morris, of St James Securities, said: "This proposal represents a lifeline for Derby College at Ilkeston.
"Local people have made it abundantly clear what they want and that is a new Morrisons in Ilkeston".
Derby College was given the planning go-ahead in August to build a campus on the former magistrates' court site in Pimlico.
The council has received 56 letters of objection to the plan and three letters of support.
The Morrisons development, which also includes a petrol station and car parking, is predicted to create up to 350 new jobs in Ilkeston. It will also secure 200 existing college jobs and provide education for 800 students.
Councillors will meet to make the final decision next Wednesday from 5.30pm at Long Eaton Town Hall.